We quickly learn when we start out training that weight has very little bearing on how “heavy” an opponent actually feels.
Personally, I’ve had 135 pound training partners feel like a ton of bricks on my chest, while I have also had training partners weighing in near 250 pounds or more that were easily moved or swept. While weight can certainly be an advantage against two similarly matched opponents, it becomes less and less of a factor as the gap in skill sets increases. It’s likely that you have experienced something similar in your training as well.
If you are among the lighter practitioners in your academy, learning how to feel heavy and create immense amounts of pressure is a top priority. If you are among the heavier practitioners in your academy, my advice would be not only to learn to create pressure, but learn it from a smaller, lighter practitioner. The “big guys” that can move like the “smaller guys” are among the most deadly and will be much more capable as they continue to grow their skill set and perfect their craft.
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Having the ability to create pressure from any position is a necessary skill set to have in grappling. It becomes particularly important when we look at controlling the opponent and preventing escapes. In order to prevent your opponent from escaping there is more to it than just a lot of pressure. You need to also know what their goals are. What options do they have from here? For example, from side control, the opponent will need to use their arm that is closest to you for 90 percent (or more) of the escapes. By eliminating the frame, and any hope of restoring the frame, you remove the risk of your opponent being able to start using use as a frame to shrimp against.
Let’s take a look at how Professor Bernardo Faria drives extreme amounts of pressure into his opponents, with ease, or at least it seems that way.
Starting out in side control Professor Faria starts by getting the what may seem like a standard cross face with his right arm under the opponent’s head. If you look closely, what Professor Faria is doing here is much different than the “standard” cross face that we typically see. Professor Faria is reaching deep under his opponent’s head and cupping the shoulder, arm pit, or Gi around the shoulder, depending on what he can reach. As shown in the video, he is using his right arm to pull the opponent towards him causing the opponent to lift their shoulder giving him access to it with his right hand. Doing this gives him an anchor point. A point on which he can use to pull his shoulder even harder into his opponent’s jaw. Simply driving into the opponent is certainly going to create a decent amount of pressure, but doing this allows Professor Faria to use the push pull method of pushing his shoulder into the jaw while pulling the opponent into him at the same time, effectively doubling the amount of pressure he is able to create.
From here Professor Faria is able to free his left hand to continue his mission of inflicting maximum pressure. Should his opponent cause any issues, the left hand can be used as a base at any moment without giving up the cross face or losing any part of the position. Next, Professor Faria hops up to his toes, keeping his knees off of the ground and focusing on making his shoulder that is driving into the opponent the single point of contact for all of his pressure. He can now use his left hand to control the lower half of his opponent’s body, remember controlling the hips, is controlling the opponent.
To control the lower half of his opponent Professor Faria likes to take his left hand and get a grip on the Gi pants on the opponents near side leg, ideally close to, or on the knee. From here he can simply extend his arm driving the opponent’s knees and hips away from him and pinning them to the ground. At this point the opponent’s upper back is on the flat on the floor and their spine is being twisted as we move down towards the legs and hips that are facing away from us. This position makes any type of escape attempt very difficult, if not impossible.
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Once we are able to achieve control of the entire upper and lower body we can now move to eliminate the possibility of the opponent using a frame by bringing our hip that is closest to the opponent’s head back to the opponent’s body and driving up along their ribs with our knee, clearing their elbow and driving their arm up to their head similar to an arm triangle position. From here, we simply bring our knees tight to the opponent’s side and end this position at what I would call somewhere between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock (assuming the opponent’s head is 12 o’clock).
You can see the level of detail in this short 4 minute video that goes into creating pressure at a world class level. Details and secrets previously reserved for the elite athletes, and only obtained through traveling to train with the greats are now available to us through the work of BJJ Fanatics and the library of video instructionals they have made available to us. This ever growing compilation of video instruction from the world’s best grapplers is sure to take our sport to the next level.
If you liked Professor Faria’s style in this “Creating Pressure in Side Control” video, check out his No Gi video instructional titled “No Gi Pressure Passing” for insane detail on his signature guard pass, the over under pass (No Gi version) as well as many others. Or, if you prefer the Gi, check out “Battle Tested Pressure Passing” by Bernardo Faria.
Bernardo Faria is arguably the most well rounded BJJ Athlete in the world, with 5… yes 5 world titles. Check out his DVD series called Battle Tested Pressure Passing By Bernardo Faria.